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Baltimore crime bill before House of Delegates

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 08:33:36-04

One of the 342 people killed in Baltimore last year was Baltimore Delegate Talmadge Branch's grandson.

Tyrone Ray was gunned down in Northeast Baltimore over Labor Day weekend but his name may live on to the tune of five million dollars in a violence intervention program.

"We need intervention programs, we need prevention programs so this is an honor for me,” Delegate Branch said, “To have his name applied to that. It makes every bit of sense."

Delegate Branch says the program that bears his grandson's name is just part of the comprehensive crime bill that has passed the senate but is now in front of the house judiciary committee.

So far, the bill sponsored by Baltimore County Democrat Bobby Zirkin marries stricter sentences for repeat violent offenders with more money for wrap around services and crime intervention programs.

Branch's grandson's program aside, SB 122 includes 3.6 million dollars for Safe Streets, a program proven successful in Baltimore and one the mayor of Baltimore wants to expand from four sites to ten.

Delegate Curt Anderson will be one of the lawmakers hearing the bill in committee tomorrow.

He says he will be looking for a balance between getting tough on crime and rehabilitation.

"On one hand we are going to have the stick and on the other hand we are going to have the carrot. We in Baltimore City want to make sure that people who are living in these areas, in the violent crime areas have resources, have choices other than committing violent crimes."

Anderson says his committee would also like to work in more expungement programs to clean the slate for nonviolent offenders who served their time.

Delegate Branch who will whip these votes on his side of the aisle says the balance is needed, but would also like to see his bill for mandatory minimum sentences for second time gun offenders serve as a back stop against city violence.

Branch says stitching all these efforts together will help create a safety net for Baltimore City.

"Everybody is trying to help Baltimore at this particular point and it needs it,” Branch said, “Any life we can save is important to me. I don't want to see another family deal with what I dealt with."

Governor Larry Hogan applauds the bipartisan and balanced approach on both sides of the aisle and Monday, urged the House of Delegates to act on this crime bill.